Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hello?? God?? Are you there??



Do you ever get the feeling that God is a million miles away? Do you strain to hear his voice, and all you hear is the sound of your heart beating, the sound of your breathing? Do you ever feel like God has packed up and shifted camp?

I feel like that at this moment. I read the Bible, and all I get are words. I struggle to pray, because I feel like I am talking to a brick wall. My mind is foggy and my soul is weary. I would think that a time like this, God would be reassuring me and revealing himself to me in powerful ways. I feel abandoned, even though I know that he will never leave me or forsake me...(Hebrews 13:5). I don't like feeling alone like this.

So what do I do? Just shrug my shoulders and carry on? I don't believe so. I feel that times like this is not an excuse to withdraw from God, but to continue to seek his face. Today I opened my Bible, desiring to hear from God, to be uplifted and encouraged - and God offered me comfort and encouragement through Psalm 34. 

Psalm 34 
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered meHe freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people,for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Come, my children, and listen to me,and I will teach you to fear the Lord.Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for helpHe rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenheartedhe rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sad news.

Dear readers and believers,
Thank you for praying with me about James and his battle with cancer. The cancer was growing aggressively and quickly overtook his body. A few days ago, James passed away, surrounded by his family as he watched them laugh and play - and is now in a place of no more pain, no more suffering and no more tears.

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Death in a child is so hard to understand. Why? Why did he die? Why couldn't it have been someone who "deserved" to die, or who was old and had lived their life? I can't answer that, but all I can do is believe in God's goodness and mercy. He had a plan for James and in his short 6 years, his plan was fulfilled. "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Even though we see death and cancer as a disaster, God sees the bigger picture and sees more than just the sadness and disease. Who knows what God had in mind?

Tomorrow is the funeral for James and instead of asking God why, when I will never possibly understand why, I am going to thank God that he took him home quickly, instead of drawing out the pain. I am going to thank God for the joy James bought those he left behind. I am going to pray for help in offering comfort and hope to the family who don't believe in God.

MY PRAYER

Dear Lord Jesus, Creator of all living things, Master of all, Saviour of all, and the Ultimate planner.
Fill my grieving heart with your peace. Turn my mourning into joy and assurance in you. Let me be your vessel when speaking to James' family. Help me to trust in you, your plans for us all, and your goodness.


Amen

Thursday, October 13, 2011

He calls us "friend".

"For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies... so how we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God" (Romans 5:10-11)

I love this passage. Because of Jesus we are God's friends - and he made us his friends before we even accept this fact. This is amazing! I must admit, this kind of friendship is the ultimate kind. There is no friendship I have on earth that would have be extending grace and friendship to the point of giving my son over to die for them. Bec is my best friend - I love her deeply and she is very special to me. But I don't love her enough that if she was going on to death row for her crimes, I would send my son instead of her.
If my friends were constantly hurting, abusing, and rejecting me, I would withdraw the friendship offer. I am a believer in boundaries and that if people deliberately abuse the relationship, it should be withdrawn. I would still love them, but not have much to do with them. I don't think Grace should turn us into doormats so that are downtrodden and deeply affected by other's actions. God is not a doormat, far from it. But he has this supernatural love and grace towards us all, that he is rejected and abused every day, yet he does not withdraw his love and offer of redemption from us.


"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8) We are restored and relationship is renewed!  God made the first move in order to save us, the ones he loves!  I love how God has done all this work in order to save us and be friends with us. Our salvation is not a spur of the moment thing, God has put a great deal of thought into it and action behind it. All we have to do is accept. Pretty easy on our part I think!! It reminds me of Christmas Day at my house. I spend months preparing and planning, ordering the food, baking, decorating, cooking, cleaning, etc. All my family have to do is just rock up and enjoy the benefits. We are already redeemed, saved, and God's friend, whether you have accepted Christ or not.



MY PRAYER
Lord Jesus, thank you for making me your friend, even before I accepted you as Lord. I'm glad that we are friends. Thank you Lord for rescuing me and sending along the right people to lead me to you. Thank you for your expression of love towards me, I don't deserve any of it - but that's what makes it Grace. Thank you for redeeming me and calling me friend.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Salvation comes by believing, not behaving.

"We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believe, no matter who we are." Romans 3:22

I'm soooo glad that Salvation is not based on my behaviour - because it that was the case, I'm sure I wouldn't be saved. I am a sinner. As are you. We are all sinners. As it says in the following scripture :
"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." (Roman's 3:23) Isn't that kind of awesome though? That we aren't alone in our sin. Everyone has done it. Everyone is it. We are all sinners. God knew that we would be sinners, because he created us to have free choice, and he knew that our choices would not always be good. I'm not trying to downplay sin here, I'm just saying, that no one can escape it, and God knew that was the case.

What is so amazing about Grace, is that he didn't say "Righto, you stuffed up, you are so not spending eternity with me anymore." because if that was the case we would all be doomed. Instead he declared us to be righteous, through Jesus. He declared us to be guilty of sin, but acquitted from penalty because Jesus paid the price. That blows me away!!  It doesn't matter how long I have been a Christian, I am still amazed at the love and sacrifice of God to free me from the consequences of my sin. Grace is a free gift, but it cost God so much! Our merciful God did not give us what we deserved, but instead showed Grace and gave us what we didn't deserve!

Jesus was a gift, and all we have to do is accept the gift of redemption and salvation. It's not hard to be righteous in God's eyes. "People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life.... and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus." (Romans 3:25-26)  To be made righteous we have to believe.  I don't have to prove myself worthy of this gift in any way. I don't have to do penance. I don't have to DO anything to receive Salvation, I just need to BELIEVE.

"Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted my God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith." Romans 3:27

This is the ultimate expression of Grace. The only thing we have to do to receive is to believe, not behave. "I'm a good person, and I believe in God" is not enough. Good works and belief in God does not make us righteous. I mean even Satan believes in God!! And he is lost forever! It's belief in Jesus and his sacrifice that justifies us.

I pray you are blessed as you dwell on the great gift that God has given so freely and with love and grace.

MY PRAYER
Thank you Father that you gave me such an incredible gift, and thank you that someone shared that gift with me. I pray that no matter how old I get, and how long I have been your kid, that I will never ever cease to be amazed at how amazing your grace is!! Thank you for sending your Son so that I can be seen as righteous in your eyes. Thank you for such a precious gift!
Amen

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